Below is a summary of the responses to the post:
I'd like to hear from clinic/hospital libraries and resource centers that are utilizing the PlaneTree classification scheme. For smaller collections, what, in your experience, has been the pros and cons of the classification scheme? Do you feel it's really necessary for a smaller collection? We currently have a collection of about 1,500 materials and I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to implement the PlaneTree classification scheme or if we should continue to use the rather broad and generic subject headings that the library has been using for years. I'd appreciate any feedback. Thank you!
1) Prentice Beckett, MLIS
Family Librarian, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
(Summarized from phone conversation)
Feels that it is not necessary for smaller collections; his library has a collection of 5,000 materials. Classification schemes generally don't mean anything to patrons; the medical jargon could actually be intimidating. He has developed general subject headings that work well the purposes of the library.
2) Nancy C. Seeger, M.Ed., MLIS
Family Resource Center
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital
I have been using the Planetree Classification for the last 5 years for our small collection of pediatric consumer health materials. I'm very glad I made the switch. Before I came here, they library had previously shelved the books by generic topics, and we had no way to look up specific items. I felt as though I never really knew what was in the collection and where to find what I needed. At the same time as we switched to Planetree, we started using CyberTools as an automation system. Between the two, our small collection became much more efficient and manageable, and cataloging using Planetree was very simple and clear.
There were a few drawbacks in our situation:
1) Since we are a pediatric hospital, we could have easily cataloged everything under Children's Health! But it was relatively easy to adapt the system to meet our unique collection.
2) We also have a diverse set of spirituality/religious books that I wanted to include in the collection, but they didn't really fit anywhere - spirituality was grouped under Mental Health or Complimentary Therapies - and it didn't work very well for our very spiritually diverse population. I adapted by actually adding a whole new K section for Spiritual/Religious and classified books by denomination (ie. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Non-sectarian, etc.) and type (Sacred texts, Inspirational, Faith-centered living/parenting, prayer/meditation, etc)....following the same format used in the other sections.
3) I started with an older version of the Planetree System. When it was revised in 2011, some major changes impacted large sections of our collection - which has caused a lot of re-classifying of books. We debating about not changing and continuing with the old version - but I like the revised edition better - so we decided to go for it, but take our time :) We are still working on it. If you are starting out using the revised edition - this won't be a problem for you.
I've been really happy with it.
Hope this info is useful.
Mallory Olson, MLIS
Health Resource Center Coordinator
Palo Alto Medical Foundation-Mountain View